The Bungalow

The Bungalow

4.0 55
by Sarah Jio, Lyssa Browne

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A sweeping World War II saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting.

In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a


A sweeping World War II saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting.

In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.

A timeless story of enduring passion from the author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jio’s second novel (after The Violets of March) is a saccharine romance framed around WWII and the Tahitian island of Bora-Bora. A letter found by her grandchild in the trash spurs Anne Calloway Godfrey of Seattle to recount a wartime romance and the dissolution of a childhood friendship. Conflicted about her impending nuptials to Gerard Godfrey, the young Anne and her best friend Kitty enlist as nurses for the war effort. But once Anne reaches the beautiful island of Bora-Bora, she finds the other nurses, including Kitty, disappointingly man hungry. While Kitty becomes entangled in a dangerous romance with one soldier, Anne is drawn to another, Westry Green, an officer, due to a shared interest in a nearby deserted bungalow, considered cursed by the native Tahitians. Though the bungalow becomes the site of Anne and Westry’s romantic rendezvous, Anne’s cloying, self-righteous attitude, obnoxious behavior, and naïve mistakes in dealing with Westry make it hard for readers to buy their relationship. Meanwhile Kitty’s romantic entanglements harden her and ruin her relationship with Anne. Jio attempts to deepen her story with the addition of a murder mystery but an overwhelming profusion of deadening wartime clichés makes for a dull, frustrating read. (Dec.)
-Karen White
"The Bungalow is a story as luscious as its exotic setting. Ms. Jio has crafted a wartime story of passion and friendship, loss and mystery. It's also a story of discovery-discovering one's own heart, and of finding a second chance long after all hope is gone. You'll remember the sparkling water and yellow hibiscus long after the last page is turned, and will want to start searching for your own lost bungalow and the parts of yourself you've long since forgotten."
Library Journal
It's 1942, and best friends Kitty and Anne, questioning their staid suburban lives, decide to join the Army Nurse Corps for a nine-month tour in the South Pacific. Anne leaves behind a mystified fiancé, she but feels a strong need to taste adventure before settling down. Free spirit Kitty finds that flirting with soldiers is much more fun than nursing the wounded, while Anne falls in love with Westry, a serious-minded soldier. Anne and Westry happily meet in secret in an abandoned beach bungalow, until the night they witness a murder. Before they can decide whether to report the crime, Westry is deployed, and Anne fears she'll never see him again. When she receives a letter more than 50 years later postmarked from Tahiti, Anne and her young niece decide it's time to find out what really happened all those years ago. VERDICT This unabashedly romantic novel just narrowly avoids being sappy, thanks to Jio's (The Violets of March) deft handling of her plot and characters. Fans of Nicholas Sparks will enjoy this gentle historical love story.—Rebecca Vnuk, Forest Park, IL

Product Details

Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Jio is the author of The Violets of March and Blackberry Winter.  She is also the health and fitness blogger for, and her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine and Real Simple, among other publications. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.

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The Bungalow: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
csingh More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! The less I write about how great this book is, the more coherent and sane I will sound. Sarah Jio has a knack for pulling the reader into the story. She writes so eloquently that it's easy to picture yourself in the surroundings she writes about, whether its an apartment in an assisted living center in the present, a beautiful beach in a Pacific paradise, or a war ravaged hospital in Europe during World War II. This book brought tears to my eyes. It's not a light read, of course the subject material is no laughing matter either. I dare you to read it and not be moved and not be amazed by how awesome this book is.
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Anne feels a little closed in by the expectations of her parents and her pending marriage.  Wanting to make a difference and really experience the world, Anne signs up for the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific Island with her best friend Kitty, leaving her fiancee Gerald behind.  Once Anne arrives in Bora-Bora she gets the experience that she wanted but doesn't count on finding love, drama, a mystery, and heartbreak. Oh wow, this read had a little bit of something for everyone.  Anne is a girl/woman before her time.  She wants to work as a nurse but she knows if she marries Gerald her nursing degree will mean nothing.  So she signs up.  During WWII, many women were allowed to take certain jobs held by men and they obtained certain amounts of freedom because the men were gone.  But Anne goes above and beyond that... I mean... she ends up in Bora-Bora.  It was really refreshing to see her outside the mold even more than expected.  The drama was very intriguing and though I guess certain aspects, there were many more that took me by surprise.  This is a book where the characters change and grow; though, sometimes it isn't for the better.  I turned every page with anticipating and found that this story really stuck out from the rest in this genre.  Even when I reached the last chapter, I was still hanging on to the edge of my seat, not really knowing how everything would work out.   At the same time, I would say that this is a summer read and it isn't too intense in terms of sadness and tragedy.  If you are looking for a summer read, this would be your pick.
omalane More than 1 year ago
Great book. I'm happy to have a new author to follow.
RaeOH More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the setting of WWII combined with today's world. There's love and mystery - a good combination and well played out. I don't like to give too much away so will just say I was satisfied at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. Great time period. The ending had me in tears
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A grabber!!! A sad romantic tale during World War II in Bora Bora. The novel includes: brave nurses and soldiers, friendships, engagements, heart ache, murder, complicated relationships, secrets, and much more. Highly recommended. It is a quick read and engages the readers. Excellent character development. Other excellent historical fiction and non-fiction writers are: Mary Gibson, Frances Donnely, William Jarvis, Duncan Barrett, Eric Larsen, Margaret Mayhew, Laurie Graham, and Judith Lennox. Sarah Jio is an outstanding writer, and I plan on reading her other books. This is my second one I have read (first was The Violets of March) and both books were winners. This book deserves an A++++++++
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
★★★½ The Bungalow is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by author Sarah Jio. In an interview I found HERE with Ms. Jio, she briefly described the premise of the book as: "At the end of her life, a woman confronts the tragedy and love -- and the Bora Bora beach bungalow -- that have haunted her for a lifetime." In The Bungalow, Ms. Jio incorporates a number of elements: history, culture, art, friendship, romance, war, mystery, and crime. She also offers a beautiful past/present timeframe which I enjoy when reading historical fiction. It's always nice to see the whole "where are they now" follow-up in my opinion. Overall, I liked The Bungalow. The historical aspect transported me to 1940's war-ready Bora Bora, and I love it when an author can make history come alive like that. This part was perfect. But my frustration grew a bit as I witnessed painfully preventable interactions negatively affect the romance element. Deceit, misunderstandings, and a few unfinished conversations had me almost yelling at the book in an effort to prevent our sweet Anne from living a different life than the one love set out for her. On the plus side, the fact I emotionally responded as such is a credit to the very engaging writing :) In the last quarter of the book though, the discoveries and secrets revealed were quite predictable in my opinion...and when it comes to mystery, I'm typically shocked by everything lol. Maybe the predictability was intentional? Overall, I enjoy Ms. Jio's writing and am always interested in reading her books when I see them at the library. The Bungalow was no exception. I bumped up my 3 stars to 3.5 just for the time and place components which I loved the most. If you enjoy the combination of women's fiction and historical fiction, or if you are just a fan of Sarah Jio, I encourage you to take a look at this one. My favorite quote: "You can never play a part in life, especially not in love."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another excellent story by Sarah Jio
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that had none of the book in the sample...way to go barnes and noble
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A timeless and beautiful story in an exotic setting of wartime passion, mystery, love and loss, discovery of the heart, and second chances. Sarah Jio has a way of reaching in the past and connecting to the present time to find romance, mystery, intrigue, betrayal, history, love and of course, a page -turner poignant story which will allow readers to escape to the enchanting seas of the South Pacific. The name and the front cover paradise is enough to draw you into a serene island hideaway world, with a backdrop of lush tropical waters, and the simplicity of a thatched roof beach bungalow where two share more than one another. From love to war, for almost marriages, to finding true passion in Bora Bora (what’s not to like) with a blissful and romantic adventure with a solider (Anne and Westry), to a brutal crime – can these star-crossed lovers connect again some seventy years later? Sara Jio has impeccable timing as she unfolds the layers, one by one to connect all the pieces for a compelling yet passionate story of love. (It is never too late). If you love historical fiction, friendship, mystery, and love, The Bungalow is for you! Slowly making my way reading Sarah Jio’s books, pleasantly finding each holds a unique heartfelt story. Love the quote: “Marriage, my dear, is not suicide.” ¿ Sarah Jio, The Bungalow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Sarah Jio's books and while I have found them all enjoyable, this is the first whose ending I didn't predict within the first chapter or two. I am surprised this was one of her earlier works, as I found it to be more sophisticated than her other books. Anyway, I read the majority of it within a day because I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen to Anne. All in all an intriguing story, and one that made me look forward to the release of Morning Glory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
engaging and hard to put down!
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qltnbe More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend reading this one. It kept you interested the whole way through. Kind of a "Titanic" love story ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago